Walk On By

January 13, 2014

A few nights ago Alice called and went over her list for the day —what she ate, the contents of her mailbox, when and where she spotted Mr. Fickle, what aides came by her apartment or failed to appear when they should have appeared.

Finally she came to a question she’d been mulling over all day. “Where does weight go when you lose it?”

Fortunately, I had an answer. “Under the bed.”


“Go look,” I said.

“I’m too old to get down there and look. Besides, it would be silly because I haven’t lost any.”

“Then why are we worrying about it?”

“Just in case I do lose some,” she said.

We moved on from this puzzle and were about to hang up a few minutes later when she mentioned that Mika had waved at her when she came down the “runway” into the dining room. “She didn’t come over to our table or anything. She just waved.”

This was progress indeed from the gridlock earlier in the week when Mika stopped speaking to Nadine and Alice because Nadine had suggested she order half portion meals. But now at last things were moving forward. I was about to celebrate when Alice told me that on her trip down the runway at dinner, she had not bothered to look once in Mika’s direction. “I’m still kind of put out with her,” she said.

“But she waved…”

“I don’t care! I don’t have to be looking over there every minute to see what she’s doing or not doing.”

The night before last, Alice called with better news. “I went over and hugged Mika at dinnertime,” she said. “And she smiled at me. So I guess we’re friends again.”

But then yesterday after lunch Alice reported in on the situation once again. “Mika walked right past me,” she said. “She didn’t say hello or smile or anything. I don’t know what to think of her.”

In case you were invested in the delusion that high school is in the past, just be aware that you can look forward to some version of it once again when you get to your own assisted living center.

mean girls poster

(Well, maybe more jeans and fewer short skirts.)

“What about weight?” I asked, eager to change the subject. “Did you ever figure out what happens to it?”

“No, but I think you know.”

“There’s the calorie theory,” I said. “You burn them, remember?”

Her tone of voice lifted. “Oh yes, calories. I do remember now. That makes more sense than what you said about under the bed.” She thought for a few seconds and added, “But I don’t know if I believe this about calories either.”

Where do you think weight goes when you lose it? Maybe there’s a better theory we can offer the ever curious Alice.

And let’s hope for peace between Mika, Nadine and Alice. It can’t go on like this. Can it?

27 Responses to “Walk On By”

  1. dehelen Says:

    I can’t comment (can’t remember my wordpress pw but will find it when I’m back home) on the blog but I think when we lose weight someone else finds it. Sometimes they give it back and then some.

    From my iPhone



  2. kelly Says:

    Please tell Alice that some famous scientist said something like, “all matter is constant,” so for every pound she loses, someone gains a pound. I have recently gained about 5 pounds and I wish I could return all 5 to the person who lost them. kelly


    • Maybe we should open a weight bank, Kelly. Those who want to lose a few can take them to the bank and those who want to gain a few can take them out. Strange that nobody has thought of such a lucrative enterprise before now, isn’t it?


  3. Sandra Y. Espinoza Says:

    My reaction to this post is totally personal and it is this. When my time comes, just put me on an ice floe with a thermos of coffee and a book; when they run out…well, they run out. As for the calories, I think that they hide somewhere…just waiting to come back…jumping on seemingly suddenly. You know, it must be really true that as we age, in many ways we become like kids again…Alice’s questions reminded me of my friend’s toddler…who wanted to know this past Sunday if God had a middle name…


    • I never had a toddler, but I had eleven years of preschoolers in my care, and I loved those questions. I’m really glad they’ve come back into my life again. A preschooler might know God’s middle name, too, and be able to answer your friend’s child’s question. But Sue has an answer, too. See below. Also, please stay away from ice floes. Books are good but in my opinion no book is gonna be good enough for a ride on an ice floe. I really understand the sentiment, though.


  4. kvwordsmith Says:

    Having never been very good at LOSING weight, I cannot tell Alice where it goes – but I love her philosophical question, wondering where it might be….If I ever find out, I have several more pounds to send to that metaphysical location!


    • Yes, it should have a metaphysical address – like Santa’s house at the North Pole. Actually, maybe that is where it goes. He hasn’t lost a pound since I first saw him quite a few decades ago.


  5. Beth Says:

    All lost weight comes to my house, and sneaks onto my body while I doze in front of the TV.


  6. Sarah M. Says:

    I once wondered the same thing about weight and found out that it comes out in our urine. Not sure of the whole mechanics of it, but basically our fat cells shrink and the waste is carried out that way.


    • Well that sounds like a good theory, surely as good as any. I mentioned it to Alice and she is almost ready to buy it but she’s wondering about the “shrinking” part. If you find out any details, let us know.


  7. cmflet Says:

    It seems to take up most of my brainpower just to figure out what I’m eating for lunch most days. Forget more philosophical questions. I believe Alice could think rings around most of us!

    Her skepticism about calories reminds me of my grandmother, who steadfastly refused to believe in “germs.” You caught cold from going to bed with wet hair, period. Start talking about organisms too tiny to see, and she’d wave an impatient hand at you.


  8. rivermile14 Says:

    How is Mika’s vision? Don’t want to overlook the obvious… Love that Dionne!


    • Good thought, Beverly. I asked about this and Alice assured me that her vision is fine. She has never had trouble seeing either Nadine or Alice in the past, close up or far away.
      I cannot get Dionne out of my little brain!


  9. Meg Glaser Says:

    Well, if we are reverting to our childhood, maybe the weight goes to those starving children in China. It would be great if the answer to this question could inspire me to do something with the extra weight I need to lose. Love the music and imagery you gathered up to illustrate this story.


    • I take it you mean the children we supposedly could have fed with all the food our parents pointed to when we wanted to leave it on our plates? Those guys are now selling us both the plates AND the food.


  10. Holly Pruett Says:

    Not sure where the weight goes when I lose it, but I do know for sure: it always comes back.


    • Thanks for that link, Holly. I wonder how long the penny will stay in existence. Its days are numbered, I guess. Unlike the weight we gain, which seems to be everlasting for so many of us.


  11. Sue Says:

    Ha! I had decided, not too long ago, that it comes out in your pee and poop – and am glad Sarah researched it! So hopefully it isn’t under the bed, but I laughed out loud when I read that! Mine always comes back too. Maybe it misses me…. I wish it would just go somewhere else.
    On God’s middle name, there’s that story about how kids hear when they learn things like the Lord’s Prayer, where they learn that “Harold be they name”… Otherwise if God is the first name, I’d say the middle name could be Dang if it’s a boy and Bless if it’s a girl. :D


    • It misses us, yes of course. Poor free-floating, lonely old weight. Good point.

      I like “Harold” as a middle name. It makes me think of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” one of my favorite children’s books of all time. Thanks for that memory, Sue.


  12. Elizabeth Says:

    All the lost weight in the country apparently comes to live with me.


    • Will pass this tidbit, too, on to Alice. I wonder which answers she is going to settle for. Tonight she called about her bank balance three times and didn’t believe me when I gave her the same number three times. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she said. And next, “You’ve got that wrong.” And finally, “I’m going to stop bothering you now but I just cannot imagine that’s right.” This is because it was a few hundred dollars more than what she expected. She can be a hard sell, but I will try with each and every one of these answers. Will keep you posted.


  13. Cheryl Says:

    I don’t know where it goes, but I do know that we lose fat on the soles of our feet as we age. If that is not the greatest cosmic joke I don’t know what is because the soles of the feet are exactly where we need some padding! And I’m pretty sure that the lost fat goes directly to the belly through some kind of anti-gravity redistribution system that then uses gravity to pull the plumped up belly down toward the feet again. Well, anyway, the part about losing fat on the soles is true : )


  14. Mark Alter Says:

    Don’t know about weight, but my Unitarian Universalist self says that God’s middle name is likely you. And my anti-racism activist self these days immediately noticed that there isn’t one person of color among the ten dancers in the Dionne Warwick clip (from 1965, Wikipedia). Speaking of being walked on by.


  15. Eeeek. The thought of repeating high school is terrifying. Unless in high school, the weight you lose goes right to the hips of the girl you dislike the most.


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